“Birth of Cupid,” Eustache Le Sueur, 1645-1647, WikiArt.

Part 4: Birth of Derya

Part of me died at sea, childhood memories
Washed away. Prophetic verse, this I realized
Walking lonely strands, my girl moved within,
Telling kicks, yearning first breaths of sea-salt
Air, blessings of dawning light. I recognized not
These rocky coasts, fishing clans Greek accent
Spoken. In kindness, meals, pallet-bed offered,
Warmth of hearth fires, for I had no other
Home or life. Days passed, shipwrecked
Bodies washed ashore, funeral pyre flames,
Upward-rising smoke. Was I sole survivor?
Of sea-smoothed stones, some melon-size,
Mirrors of my abdomen, villagers erected
Shrine in memory of faceless sea-dead.

Strange customs, each villager present at
Ocean-edge shrine, took finger-taste of bone
Ash to tongue, dead living part of them, daily
Life, fishing, harvests, frosts and snows, cold
Nights, peaceful fires. Such rites they say were
God-written on sky and waves, observed on
Desolate seashores, in procession turn, I took
Communion taste, grey ash upon my lips,
Grit smeared on brow and face, arms to side
Out-stretched, I sang, “Seasons onward roll,
Pine-bough burned, as gods decreed, be present
With us until souls sun-rise in everlasting life.”
Memories of temple crumbled bones rushed
Forth. Alas! My water broke mid-speech.

As many men as women hoisted me from edge
Of smoldering funeral pyres onto waiting oxen
Cart, trail bumping, screaming, crowning, arms,
Legs flailing, bloody water gushed.  Mountain
Heights we ascended, shoreline disappearing,
Altar stone they lifted me, bloody gown, for
Sacrifice or hymnal praise to gods, I knew not
Which. O! Sun-eclipsing dark-clouded skies,
Thunderclap realization, I shouted, “My girl
Child was not conceived by man but by bones
Of Göbekli Tepe.” All eyes fixed on Priestess
Ceremonial chalice raised, wine sprinkled upon
My milk-heavy breasts. In desperation, I cried
Aloud, “Save me, goddess, save my child.”

“Sargon II and Dignitary,” 702-705 BC, Wikipedia. (Left figure.)

All round me earth stood still: sun, clouds, wind,
Sky-passages silent-ceased. Was all this desert
Dream or more realities endured? My imagined
Priestess was elder fisher mother, my baby still
Attached by umbilical cord. With net-mending
Knots, gentle blade, she separated Derya from
Myself, swaddled, placed her on my breast.
“Give her to light, her soul body enter, bond
Make, mother, newborn girl.” All this I did, still
One troubling concern. “Mother,” I asked, “where
Are we? “Who reigns over this mountain island
Realm?” Answer unexpected, “City-kingdom of
Marion, we are subjects of Assyrian King,
Sargon, the Second.”

For more on the ancient City-Kingdom of Marion, Cyprus, 
see this link. Also, see this textbook. Thanks for reading.

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